MORE WAYS BMI SCREWS THE SONGWRITER!
April 8, 2009
Two weeks ago the owner of the desert apartment complex I live in tried to remove and hide an official notice to the tenants that the place was in foreclosure and would be sold at public auction on April 10, 2009. What an asshole!
You can probably tell that I’m in no mood for any further bullshit. After reading dozens of e-mails responding to my article, BMI FINDS A NEW WAY TO SCREW THE SONGWRITER, I can see that most of you aren’t either.
It appalled me that no songwriter was informed that a new minimum of $250.00 must be accrued before a check would be issued…an amount FIVE TIMES THE PREVIOUS $50.00 MINIMUM just a few months ago.
Until now, no one thought to complain. Here are a few excerpts from the dozens of e-mails I’ve received (without the sender’s names to protect their privacy).
“This is just another scheme BMI came up with to pay the rent, which comes at a time when many writers, I suspect, are having trouble paying theirs. A threat of a mass exodus to ASCAP would take care of this problem…”
“If you will ask BMI to direct deposit your royalties to your bank account, nothing will be withheld until you reach a certain minimum. This is simply an effort by BMI to encourage songwriters to use direct deposit, which will increase efficiency and reduce overhead, which will benefit all BMI songwriters through increased royalties. Nobody is trying to screw you — but rather you are being encouraged to adapt to a better way of getting paid. No postage, no checks to lose, no trips to the bank, no delay at the post office. I’m amazed that nobody explained this to you!”
I’m sorry, but I refuse to be punished for not making life easier for BMI.
“Yeah, Artie, I discovered this SCREW ‘EM UP a few days ago when I called BMI because I hadn’t received a statement. Like you stated in your blog, I was informed that I had only accumulated about $100 and wouldn’t receive a check until the total reached the $250 mark…assholes, are investing my money AND REAPING THE PROFITS instead of sending it to me. I really need my $$ NOW. Geez!”
“My wife is a long-lapsed BMI affiliate, having been an ASCAP member almost forty years. But she has works still in the BMI repertory, and is accounted to regularly. That is until now. Last week she received a statement and a $500+ check, but we only then noticed she’d missed the statement that had been due in January. She called and was told about the $250 minimum rule and that she hadn’t been sent the January statement because her balance due was less than the minimum. To our minds, this is doubly egregious: establishing an unfair minimum plus withhold accountings if earnings fall below the minimum. Can’t help but wonder if the interest earned on all the withheld funds accrues to the benefit of writers and publishers.”
“What does the BMI contract say? Is there any provision which gives them the right to withhold royalties? If not demand payment with interest!”
“BMI is mirroring the SAG rules, which suck. Direct Deposit is fine, though…”
I don’t care what SAG does. As far as direct deposit goes, why would I want my money go directly into a bank that I no longer trust?
“I just read your story and you’re so right. They are investing or otherwise using the money due others so they can get the extra income/interest. Everything you said you’ve gone through is almost the same for most of us. I’m too small and too tired to fight, but I keep trying any way.” the story
“With BMI handling 375,000 different songwriters/publishers – going to Direct Deposit makes sense in this modern, digital banking time. Anything that cuts overhead costs for them makes me happy. I have been a BMI member since 2000 (small publisher) and receive small direct deposits (followed by a mailed statement) with happy regularity.”
I’m glad you’re so “happy”, unfortunately there are thousands and thousands of songwriters who aren’t like you. Many aren’t computer literate, and many aren’t even able to read. They, along with the more educated are being denied their own money, during the greatest economic crises of our lifetime, by a corporation who is more concerned with its own existence than the welfare of its members. The most disturbing part of this is BMI’s attempt to keep the new rules quiet and to brush aside any questioning of its practices.
Remember, for every 4,000 members who only earn up to $249.00 in a quarter almost A MILLION DOLLARS IS WITHHELD BY BMI! Multiply this by the “Real” statistics, and we’re talking MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!
As a former mover and shaker, I once steered hundreds of young writers to BMI, because I believed in it, now I’d do anything to help them escape. Who knows what other dubious things the organization might be up to that haven’t been discovered…yet!
Regretfully, Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/
For BMI FINDS A NEW WAY TO SCREW THE SONGWRITER click on http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/bmi-finds-a-new-way-to-screw-the-songwriter/